1. ARAC membership in IAF
After favorable review by the IAF Executive committee and 30-day ballot to IAF members, ARAC has been accepted in September 2013 as an IAF Special Recognition Organization - Regional Accreditation Group Member.
ARAC and IAF Chairs signed the MoU in the margin of the ILAC & IAF General assembly in Seoul, Korea on 24th October 2013.
(ARAC-IAF MoU Signing Ceremony)
2. Technical Cooperation
2.1 ARAC – APLAC
In the Margin of the ILAC and IAF General Assembly in Seoul, Korea, ARAC and APLAC signed a Memorandum of Understanding MoU on 24th October 2013.
The scope of the MOU covers the relationship between ARAC and the Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC) on matters of accreditation and conformity assessment policy, and sits besides the roles and responsibilities that the parties already have towards each other, arising from their memberships in ILAC. Some areas of cooperation and responsibility include training and development, Proficiency Testing programs and support on technical matters.
(ARAC- APLAC MoU Signing Ceremony)
A Memorandum of Understanding MoU between ARAC and EA (European Cooperation for Accreditation), the Regional Group of national accreditation bodies in Europe, has been signed by the two organization’s Chairs, Mr Mahmoud Eltayeb and Mr Thomas Facklam in December 2013.
The purpose of the ARAC – EA MoU is to record an understanding between ARAC and EA on their working relationship so as to achieve the scope of the MoU, which sits beside the roles and responsibilities that both parties already have towards each other, arising from their memberships in ILAC and IAF. Areas of cooperation will include training and development, peer evaluations (ARAC needs to qualify a pool of peer evaluators), information exchange, support in technical matters and adoption of common positions on issues of mutual interest.
ARAC and African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC) continue to work closely to identify further areas for cooperation in support of their Technical Cooperation Agreement signed in March 2013. The implementation of this started by organizing joint Peer evaluations of the two accreditation bodies TUNAC (Tunisian Accreditation Body) and EGAC (Egyptian Accreditation Body) as ARAC and AFRAC shares some common members (African Accreditation Bodies).
2.4 ARAC -TURKAK
ARAC and the Turkish Accreditation Agency (TURKAK) signed a Memorandum of Understanding MoU in December 2013. The scope of this MoU covers the relationship between ARAC and TURKAK on matters of accreditation and conformity assessment policy.
The cooperation between ARAC and TURKAK was achieved through the organization of a Regional training workshop and coaching sessions with a view to improve and share best practices and to update the skills of assessment personnel of the accreditation bodies in Arab region and improving the harmonization of the assessment of the conformity assessment bodies by the Accreditation Bodies ARAC members.
The cooperation with TURKAK is continuing through the participation of their personnel who are qualified as EA Peer evaluators in ARAC Peer evaluations. Two TURKAK personnel qualified as EA Peer Evaluators participated at the ARAC Peer Evaluations of the Tunisian and Egyptian Accreditation Bodies TUNAC & EGAC which have been conducted in December 2013 and February 2014.
3. ARAC MLA Regional workshop for ARAC MLA Committee members and ARAC Peer evaluators
ARAC organized a Regional workshop during the period 19-20 November 2013 in Tunis, Tunisia, for its MLA committee members and Peer evaluators with the aim of:
- Information and discussion about the changes in the procedures for to the IAF/ILAC A1 (Requirements and Procedures for the Evaluation of a Region) and IAF/ILAC A2 (Requirements and Procedures for the Evaluation of a Single Accreditation Body),
- Information about the results from the ILAC/IAF Joint Working Group A-series meeting and training workshop held during the 2013 ILAC/IAF annual meetings - Seoul, Korea,
- Information and discussion of the implementation of these changes at the ARAC Peer evaluations,
- Information and discussion about the ARAC Peer evaluation process documentations and requirements,
- Information and discussion about the use of the applicable ARAC forms during the Peer evaluations,
- Training on the ARAC MLA making process requirements.
ARAC has organized this workshop, in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO) and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
(ARAC-MLA Workshop Participants)
4. Third ARAC MLA Committee meeting:
The ARAC MLA Committee held its third meeting on 21 and 22 November 2013 in Tunis, Tunisia. The meeting gathered 10 participants from the ARAC AB members.
A wide range of issues was discussed during the two-day meeting which was achieved with fruitful results especially the launch of the ARAC Peer evaluation process and the updating of ARAC MLA procedures in order to be aligned with the new requirements of the Joint IAF and ILAC documents ILAC/IAF A1 and A2.
During this meeting a training session has been provided to the ARAC MLA Committee members on the ARAC MLA decision making process.
(3rd ARAC MLA Committee meeting)
5. ARAC Peer evaluations
5.1 Peer evaluation of Tunisian Accreditation Body TUNAC :
Following TUNAC application to join ARAC MLA, the first ARAC Peer evaluation of TUNAC has been conducted during the period 16th – 20th December 2013 in Tunis, Tunisia.
The objective of this Peer evaluation is to evaluate the compliance of TUNAC to the international standard ISO/IEC 17011, and other relevant standards and related criteria such as application documents from ARAC, ILAC, and IAF for the purpose to sign the ARAC MLA covering the scope of accreditation of Testing and Calibration Laboratories according to ISO/IEC 17025, Inspection Bodies according to ISO/IEC 17020, Quality & Environmental & Food Safety Management System Certification bodies according to ISO/IEC 17021 and ISO/TS 22003.
5.2 Peer evaluation of Egyptian Accreditation Body EGAC :
Following EGAC application to join ARAC MLA, the initial ARAC Peer evaluation of EGAC has been conducted from the 2 February 2014 until 6 February 2014 in Cairo, Egypt.
This Peer Evaluation conducted, jointly with AFRAC while implementing the Technical Cooperation Agreement signed between ARAC and AFRAC in March 2013, by ARAC & AFRAC qualified Peer Evaluators and (EA) Peer Evaluator from TURKAK by applying the MoU signed between ARAC and TURKAK in December 2013.
The objective of this Peer evaluation is to evaluate the compliance of EGAC to the international standard ISO/IEC 17011, and other relevant standards and related criteria such as application documents from ARAC, ILAC, and IAF for the purpose to sign the ARAC MLA covering the scope of accreditation of Medical Testing Laboratories and accreditation of certification bodies in the field of Food Safety Management System.
(ARAC-Peer evaluation of EGAC-Opening meeting)
6. Participation of ARAC Trainee Peer Evaluator at the Re Peer evaluation TUNAC by EA:
In order to maintain its Bilateral Agreement (BLA) in the field of accreditation of testing, calibration laboratories, and accreditation of certification bodies for management systems and to extend this Agreement to the accreditation of Inspection Bodies, the Tunisian National Accreditation Council (TUNAC) has been evaluated by the European Co-operation for accreditation (EA) from 03 to 07 March 2014.
One ARAC trainee Peer evaluator participated at this Peer evaluation with the support of AIDMO-UNIDO-SIDA project with the aim to qualify a pool of ARAC Peer evaluators.
(ARAC-Peer evaluation of TUNAC-Assessment witnessing)
7. Participation of ARAC at ILAC/IAF General Assemblies and meetings in Seoul
Within the framework of its participation at the ILAC&IAF General assemblies and annual meetings held during the period 16-25 October 2013 in Seoul, Korea, ARAC has participated actively in the following committees and task force Groups meeting:
- ILAC Arrangement Management Committee (AMC),
- ILAC Executive Committee,
- Joint ILAC/IAF Executive committee,
- ILAC/IAF Peer evaluators Task Force Group,
- ILAC Arrangement Committee (ARC),
- Changes in the procedures for IAF/ILAC evaluation in IAF/ILAC A1 and A2 Training session for Peer evaluators that aims to:
- Information and discussion about the changes to IAF/ILAC A1 and A2 and the comments from the IAF/ILAC members
- Information about the results from the JWG A-series meeting held on 16 October 2013
- Discussion of the implementation of these changes at evaluations
- Conclusion for the preparation and performance of the evaluation in the regional MLA Groups.
- Joint Working Group. A-series (JWG A-Series)
- IAF Management Systems Certification (MSC) Working Group,
- The IAF Task force to prepare the IAF document on witnessing rules in the assessment of the Management System certification bodies.
8. Participation of ARAC AB members accredited laboratories at the APLAC PT Programme
Within the framework of the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between ARAC and APLAC, ARAC ensured and follow up the participation of the accredited laboratories by its Accreditation Bodies members at the APLAC Proficiency Testing (PT) Programme on "APLAC T091 Analysis of Lubricants" & "APLAC T090 Analysis of Coal ".
Four testing laboratories accredited by three ARAC AB members are participating at the APLAC T090 Analysis of Coal programme. Concerning the APLAC PT programme “T091 Analysis of Lubricants”, 13 testing laboratories accredited by 9 ARAC AB members will participate at this programme.
9. Participation of ARAC at the preparation of Solar Heating Arab Marketing and Certification Initiative “SHAMCI” system
Following the decision n° 152 dated 22th December 2011 which was taken by the Arab Ministerial Council of Electricity, raised a request to the Regional Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency “RECREE” and AIDMO to coordinate with the council secretariat to work on standardization and certification program for Solar Water Heaters “SWHs” aiming to achieve a quality certificate for Arab region, ARAC has actively participated in the following key activities:
- Preparation of the certification rules for SWHs, under the network formed with the name SHAMSI, which gives the requirements for SHAMSI certification for solar collectors and solar water heaters and define the test methods to be used to check if requirements are fulfilled,
- Chairing and managing the Standards Peer Group responsible for preparing the SWHs Arab standards by reviewing the ISO and EN standards and adapt them to meet the SHAMSI requirements,
- Preparation of a list of applicable standards for Certification Scheme Rules for Solar Collectors and Solar Water Heaters,
- The different SHAMCI Network Meetings,
- The lunching Workshop of the SHAMCI label which consider as the first model in the third world,
- The inspection committee responsible for the implementation of SHAMCI label certification process in terms of the role and competence criteria of inspection bodies involved in the SHAMCI label certification phases.
(ARAC-SHAMCI label launching Workshop)
10. ARAC upcoming Meetings
The upcoming ARAC meetings will be conducted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates during the period 20th-22nd May 2014 as follow:
- 20th May 2014: 7th ARAC Technical Committee meeting,
- 20th May 2014: 4th ARAC MLA Committee meeting,
- 20th May 2014: 4th ARAC Communication and Marketing Committee meeting,
- 21st May 2014: 7th ARAC Executive Committee meeting,
- 22nd May 2014: 3rd ARAC General Assembly meeting,
These meetings will be organized in partnership with the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization [AIDMO], the United Nations Industrial Development Organization [UNIDO] and the Swedish International Development Agency [SIDA].
11. ARAC Information and Publications
ARAC currently has implemented a Members Only section in the ARAC website with information for its members and each Committee. Further information on ARAC activities is available at www.arabarac.org (click here) or by contacting the ARAC Secretary, Mr Hasan Qasem at firstname.lastname@example.org.